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Pope Francis at Palm Sunday Mass in near-empty St. Peter’s Basilica: ‘Let us stand before the crucifix in our homes’…

Vatican City, Apr 5, 2020 / 05:00 am (CNA).- On Palm Sunday, Pope Francis offered Mass in a nearly empty St. Peter’s Basilica and urged Catholics quarantined at home to remember “what really matters” in life: loving God and serving others. “The tragedy we are experiencing summons us to take seriously the things that are serious, and not to be caught up in those that matter less; to rediscover that life is of no use if not used to serve others. For life is measured by love,” Pope Francis said April 5 in his Palm Sunday homily. Holy Week liturgies at the Vatican are taking without the presence of the public this year because of the coronavirus pandemic. During the Palm Sunday broadcast, the pope said that Catholics can look to the suffering Christ as an example of a life lived co...

Palm supplier sees Palm Sunday business halved by coronavirus cancellations…

Denver, Colo., Apr 3, 2020 / 11:55 pm (CNA).- Thomas Sowell and his wife own Southeast Palm and Foliage in Astor, Florida, in the middle of the state, about 40 miles west of Daytona Beach. “It’s in the middle of nowhere, actually,” Sowell told CNA in January. Sowell isn’t Catholic, but his business supplies palms to hundreds of Catholic parishes across the country— in every state, as well as in Canada— not to mention the many Episcopal, Eastern Orthodox, and Lutheran communities that also use palms. Last year, the Sowells’ farm shipped over four million palm leaves. “There’s not many of us that do this. There’s not many people, not many companies do what we do,” Sowell told CNA. “I know that there have been, over the past, say, 50 years, quite a few other companies embark...

African cardinal tests positive for coronavirus as pandemic spreads…

Cardinal Philippe Ouédraogo of Burkina Faso. (Uganda Episcopal Conference. ) Cardinal Ouédraogo is the second bishop from Burkina Faso known to have contracted COVID-19, as countries across Africa implement lockdowns and restrictions to slow the spread of the virus across the continent. VATICAN CITY — Cardinal Philippe Ouédraogo of Burkina Faso has tested positive for the coronavirus, his archdiocese announced Tuesday. He is the second cardinal known to have tested positive for the virus, which is now a global pandemic. Cardinal Ouédraogo, 75, has been admitted to a medical clinic in Burkina Faso’s capital Ouagadougou.  He is “in good condition and his close collaborators are reported to be self-isolating,” a spokesman for Burkina Faso’s bishops’ conference, Fr. Paul Dah, to...

Cardinal De Donatis, Vicar General of Rome, is first cardinal known to have coronavirus…

Cardinal Angelo De Donatis speaks at a press conference on the Apostolic Exhortation “Gaudete et Exsultate” at the Holy See Press Office on April 9, 2018. (Daniel Ibáñez/CNA) While Pope Francis is the Bishop of Rome, the day-to-day leadership of the diocese is provided for by Cardinal De Donatis, who enjoys broad vicarious authority delegated by the pope. VATICAN CITY — Cardinal Angelo De Donatis, vicar general of the Diocese of Rome, has tested positive for coronavirus. He is the first cardinal known to have the virus. The cardinal has been admitted to the Gemelli Hospital in Rome with a fever. He is reportedly in good condition, and his close collaborators are reported to be self-isolating, according to a statement from the Vicariate of Rome. “I feel serene and conf...

Six sisters from same Italian convent have died, as coronavirus spreads among religious orders…

Vatican City, Mar 30, 2020 / 09:06 am (CNA).- Six sisters in one northern Italian convent have died of coronavirus, and nine sisters are being treated in the hospital after testing positive for COVID-19, according to Italian media. Coronavirus is spreading among several religious houses in Italy. An outbreak in the Little Missionary Sisters of Charity Mother House in Tortona, Italy led half of its 40 sisters to test positive for COVID-19 earlier this month. “Many times as Little Missionary Sisters of Charity we have set ourselves the goal of sharing the lives of the poor and the least, the fragile lives,” Sister Gabriella Perazzi told Vatican News. “At this moment we share the lives of many people, who throughout Italy and all over the world, experience this fragility in the face of someth...

Vatican tests 170 people for coronavirus, says Pope Francis does not have virus…

Vatican City, Mar 28, 2020 / 11:05 am (CNA).- The Vatican said Saturday Pope Francis does not have the coronavirus, and that recent testing of 170 Holy See employees for COVID-19 resulted in only one new case. This brings the total number of coronavirus cases connected to Vatican City to six, papal spokesman Matteo Bruni said in a statement March 28. “I can confirm that neither the Holy Father nor his closest collaborators are involved,” the spokesman stated. The six positive cases include a priest who lives in the same Vatican guesthouse as Pope Francis. The priest, an official of the Secretariat of State, was put into isolation as soon as he presented symptoms of COVID-19, Bruni said. Tests were carried out on those the official had been in physical contact with and later other Holy See ...

The Cross is our hope: Pope gives extraordinary ‘Urbi et Orbi’ blessing during coronavirus…

Vatican City, Mar 27, 2020 / 12:19 pm (CNA).- On Friday, before an empty and rain-covered St. Peter’s Square, Pope Francis held Eucharistic adoration and gave an extraordinary Urbi et Orbi blessing, praying for the world during the coronavirus pandemic which has killed more than 25,000 people. The holy hour March 27 included a reading from the Gospel and a meditation by Pope Francis, who spoke about faith and trust in God during a time when people fear for their lives, as did the disciples when their boat was caught in a violent storm. “We have an anchor: by his cross we have been saved. We have a rudder: by his cross we have been redeemed. We have a hope: by his cross we have been healed and embraced so that nothing and no one can separate us from his redeeming love,” Francis said. Embrac...

Person who lives in Casa Santa Marta, current residence of Pope, tests positive for coronavirus…

VATICAN CITY (Reuters) – A person who lives in the same Vatican residence as Pope Francis has tested positive for coronavirus and is being treated in an Italian hospital, the Rome newspaper Il Messaggero reported on Wednesday. FILE PHOTO: General view of Saint Peter’s Square in the Vatican City as Italians stay home as part of a lockdown against the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Rome, Italy March 22, 2020. REUTERS/Alberto Lingria The Vatican had no comment on the report. Francis, who has cancelled public appearances and is conducting his general audiences via television and the internet, has lived in the guesthouse, known as Santa Marta, since his election in 2013. Santa Marta has about 130 rooms and suites but many are not occupied now, a Vatican source said. Nea...

Texas becomes latest state to halt abortion services amid coronavirus outbreak…

The Texas Attorney General’s office just ordered all clinics that provide abortion to immediately stop providing the procedure in order to comply with the state’s temporary suspension of surgeries that are not deemed “medically necessary,” according to a statement from the office shared with CBS News. Texas is the latest state to halt abortion services amid the COVID-19 outbreak. According to the Attorney General’s office, “any type of abortion that is not medically necessary to preserve the life or health of the mother” must be suspended. Those in violation will face “penalties of up to $1,000 or 180 days of jail time.” On Sunday evening, Texas Governor Greg Abbott issued an executive order “to expand hospital bed capacity as the...

Archbishop Gregory Aymond of New Orleans becomes first U.S. bishop to test positive for coronavirus…

Washington D.C., Mar 23, 2020 / 11:33 am (CNA).- The Archbishop of New Orleans has tested positive for coronavirus. He is the first U.S. bishop known to have tested positive for the virus, which is now a global pandemic. “Recently, I had very mild symptoms, which included fever only. Out of an abundance of caution, I took the Coronavirus test which came back positive,” Archbishop Gregory Aymond announced March 23. “I have notified those with whom I have been in close proximity. Needless to say, I have self-quarantined in order to be responsible and not affect others. I will use this quiet time for additional prayer and sacrifice for all those seriously affected by the virus,” the archbishop wrote. “I pray to get well soon and continue ministry. In the meantime, I will be present through Fa...

“Humanity trembles”: Pope Francis asks all Christians to pray Our Father on March 25 at noon; announces special Urbi et Orbi this Friday…

Pope Francis invites the faithful into Eucharistic Adoration after Mass, March 17, 2020. (Daniel Ibañez/EWTN.) The Vatican’s Apostolic Penitentiary has granted a plenary indulgence for people who pray for an end to the pandemic, healing for the sick, and the eternal repose of the dead. Courtney Mares/CNA. VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis has asked Christians around the world to unite in praying the Our Father prayer at noon on March 25 in response to the coronavirus pandemic. “In these days of trial, while humanity trembles at the threat of the pandemic, I would like to propose to all Christians to unite their voices to heaven,” Pope Francis said March 22. “I invite … the leaders of all Christian communities, together with all Christians of various confessions, to invoke the Mos...

Catholic hospital chaplains prepare for “tsunami” of COVID-19 patients…

New York City, N.Y., Mar 21, 2020 / 01:00 pm (CNA).- As the coronavirus pandemic spreads across the United States, the ministry of hospital chaplains is essential for patients and health care professionals. One New York priest told CNA on Thursday that hospitals are the front line for saving souls, as well as lives. “The hospital situation in the last five to ten years is one of the best places that we are doing evangelization,” Fr. John Anderson of ArchCare, a health care ministry of the Archdiocese of New York, told CNA March 19.  “A lot of folks we see haven’t seen a priest, or been in a church in five, ten, 15, maybe even longer, years,” he said. “So when we train priests for hospital ministry, we really talk a lot about welcoming people back, being hospitable. And we certainly wa...

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